Two weeks after a coordinated federal immigration sweep here in L.A., President Trump is following through on his campaign pledge to arrest, incarcerate, and deport millions of undocumented immigrants. On Monday the Department of Homeland Security released documents explaining how Trump’s executive orders on immigration and border policy will be put into effect. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly signed off on the new directives.
- Federal agents will target undocumented immigrants convicted of any criminal offense, including those who “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits.” Under the Obama administration, the government only targeted those convicted of serious crimes. The Los Angeles Times says all 11 million undocumented immigrants are now targets.
- The DHS directives expand expedited deportations to those who have been here two years or less who are arrested anywhere in the country. Under Obama, only those who have been here less than two weeks and were arrested within 100 miles of the border were subject to expedited deportations.
- The government will incarcerate undocumented immigrants until they have had a hearing before an immigration judge. Under the Obama administration some were allowed to live with family until hearings. Hearings can take more than a year to occur.
- The memos do not overturn Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which provides work permits to more than 750,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. as undocumented children.
- The Department of Homeland Security will hire 10,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and 5,000 new Border Patrol agents.
- The DHS wants to recruit local police to assist with federal deportation efforts.
The documents do not say anything about the National Guard being used to round up immigrants.
In short, the DHS will broaden the powers it wielded during the Obama administration and grow its ranks. Under Obama, hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants were arrested and deported each year, more than under any other president.
Senior Department of Homeland Security officials are so proud of the new measures that they spoke in brave anonymity with the New York Times and other reporters on Monday. “We do not need a sense of panic in the communities,” said a DHS official, who, it bears repeating, is reassuring the public that these measures are totally chill by not putting his or her name behind them.
Yet, as L.A. Weekly is reporting, panic is what seems to be happening in places like East L.A. thanks to Trump administration policies.
Per L.A. Weekly:
“The travel ban and last week’s sweep of arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement are sowing panic in the majority-Latino neighborhoods and cities of L.A. [Travel agent Moises] Avila says he has received dozens of phone calls about the lengthy background checks at the airport. Green card holders ask if they will be sent back to Mexico. People who don’t have papers ask if it is safe to drive family members to the airport.”
Los Angeles and California have been ground zero in resisting the Trump administration’s plans to crack down on undocumented immigrants. Police chief Charlie Beck has said the LAPD will not assist in deportation efforts.
Former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has issued a statement condemning the president’s immigration policy: